Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

COVID-19 Pandemic 

Church of England have updated their advice to parishes on closing and caring for church buildings during the pandemic to reflect current guidance and answer some additional questions. Version 2 includes a list of what has changed at the beginning. You can access the latest version on the CofE website by clicking on documents and selecting the relevant title, or scrolling to the appropriate FAQ. They recommend visiting the main Coronavirus advice page to see what other questions and materials have been added. 

Updates received July 2020 

Outdoor worship Here 

Churchyards Here 

Test and Trace

Church Buildings Council are aware that the Information Commissioners Office has published guidance on how information for NHS Test and Trace should be collected. They are reviewing this, including reference to the need for explicit consent (rather than using ‘legitimate interest’) because of the possibility that data could reveal religious affiliation, therefore making it special category data under GDPR regulations. Specialist staff in Church House are working through this with the ICO and MHCLG and they will produce updated guidance as soon as they can. For now, the government guidance outlines what information is needed – and collecting data is of course a recommendation rather than a command. HERE

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020: revised post HERE 

Guidance on conducting public worship. This includes how to calculate capacity within social distancing measures and information on what the government guidance says about hygiene and issues such as music and singing.  HERE 

Guidance on legal questions on conducting public worship.HERE

Guidance on opening cathedral and church buildings. This is a significantly revised version of the previous ‘general access’ guidance and includes information on welcoming visitors and tourists, as well as on issues such as bell ringing, churchyards, bats and maintenance. HERE

An updated risk assessment template.HERE

Some of the previous guidance is also still relevant, namely:

Guidance on cleaning church buildings.

Guidance on access for contractors and construction, including a specific risk assessment.

There will be updates to guidance on weddings, funerals, baptisms, ordinations and confirmations coming out soon. As ever do check the CofE Coronavirus page for the latest FAQs and updates.

Updates June 2020: 

Visit Britain launched ‘Good to Go’ on 25th June. This is a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark, in partnership with the national tourism organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening. It is a simple online survey which walks visitor attractions through a series of steps, such as having a completed a risk assessment and read relevant guidance. Once completed sites receive the official Good to Go logo to use online and on signage, and a toolkit to support re-opening. It is a free service. I signed the agreement needed to allow churches and cathedrals to be part of Good to Go if they wish. This means churches can identify they are part of the Church of England (which for these purposes is listed as an ‘industry body’) and will be notified if our official guidance changes. For churches and cathedrals which operate as tourist destinations I think this will help them welcome visitors back with safety and reassurance when they are ready to do so.    You can find the survey and more information HERE

Places of worship: protective security funding scheme

As part of the Governments’ 2016-2020 Hate Crime Action Plan, Places of Worship can once again apply for funding to assist with their Protective Security. Applications are open now and closes on 9 August.   Here 

The Home Office has a £3.2 million fund to improve security at places of worship at risk from hate crime attacks and allows places of worship including churches and associated faith community centers to receive government funding to improve physical security. This can include more secure gates, locks, alarms and CCTV in order to deter and prevent hate crime attacks.

Fundraising during Covid-19

Ecclesiastical has launched a fundraising hub to support churches during Covid-19.  The resources are aimed at supporting churches particularly at this time when COVID-19 brings additional fundraising challenges, although we will be updating and developing these resources further beyond this.  There is also a helpline (03456 019959) for parishes to request a call back for any specific queries and these will be directed to the respective Church Insurance Consultant for the diocese. 

Further guidance has been added to the Coronavirus page on the Church of England website.

Guidance on use of buildings for private prayer

Risk assessment template is now available as a word document

The government guidance for places of worship is published here.

Deep cleaning is not needed. The cleaning guidance has been updated to show that it is not necessary to deep clean before reopening your building. HERE

If your building has been closed and nobody has been in it for at least 72 hours, it is unlikely the virus is present. Your building will therefore not need to be disinfected for the virus. This includes fogging or misting treatments of biocidal solutions for disinfection. The contents of these treatments may adversely react with fixtures and fittings in the church building. Please see the Parish Risk Assessment document for more information on opening your church building.


Restricted church services in England from 4 July 2020 HERE

Historic England - Emergency Funding Available June 2020 HERE

June 2020 - Cleaning your Church with Resident Bats: A Post-lockdown Guide  HERE

May 2020 - Towards Re-opening Church Buildings: Covid-19 Risk Assessment Checklist for Parish Churches - Version 1 HERE

Access during Lockdown v1 HERE

Advice for Clergy on access to closed buildings v3 HERE

Securing and caring for your church buildings during the Covid-19 pandemic: advice for incumbents, churchwardens and PCC members - Version 3  HERE

CoE_Briefing_Documents_re_UK_Government_Financial_Measures_in_response_to_Coronavirus_-_03.04_.20_.pdf  HERE 

Ecclesiastical Insurance - Website 

For your information Ecclesiastical have prepared guidance for Churches on how to manage Risk during Covid-19 that can be found on their website 

More recently Ecclesiastical have also produced guidance on preparing for the increased risk of cyber-attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic

Grants news (May 2020)

The government emergency support funding for charities distributed via the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) is now open to applications HERE

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. NLCF will fund activities supporting people and communities affected by covid-19. They will also help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they face as a result of the pandemic.

There are three kinds of grants available:

Grants from £300 to £10,000

Grants from £10,000 to £100,000 

Grants for organisations working in partnership, from £10,000 to £100,000

  They are prioritising: 

Organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the covid-19 crisis

Organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the covid-19 crisis

Organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to covid-19

Places of worship are eligible and I hope will consider applying?

DAC main functions are to give advice on the architecture, archaeology, art and history of places of worship; the care and maintenance of church buildings and their contents; and the care and maintenance of churchyards.

For the most part, the DAC advises churchwardens, PCCs and clergy who are planning work to their churches, and advises the Chancellor whether or not a faculty should be granted. This advice is given on a voluntary basis by members of the Committee, supported by a team of consultants and advisers on specialised topics such as bells, brasses, clocks, lighting, organs and trees.

Caring for church buildings is a great challenge for churchwardens and PCCs. The DAC provides advice, support, and encouragement at all stages of projects, from initial thoughts, through fundraising and making a faculty application, to completion, whether it be quinquennial repairs, reordering, or a new extension, whether on a small or large scale. As well as producing guidance notes and other published material (see below), the DAC and its consultants are happy to visit parishes to offer their expertise and experience – the earlier in the process, the better.

DAC Design Awards Scheme

The DAC administers the Design Awards Scheme, which recognises excellence in design and craftsmanship, and to encourage the commissioning of individual designs rather than resorting to standard catalogue items. The scheme applies to everything which requires faculty consent, from small items such as candlesticks and light fittings, to stained glass, memorials, sculpture, paintings, furniture, etc., through to reordering schemes, whole building developments, cremated-remains areas in churchyards, or tree planting project

See which churches received our Highly Commended Design Awards in 2017.

See which chuches received Design Awards in 2019

Enter the 2021 awards     Please come back to this in October/November 2020 for access to awards scheme 

If you prefer to submit hard copies through the post, down load application form -  Click Here

Useful Links

For further information, please contact the DAC Secretary, Sandra Turner - 01245 294423, DAC Assistant, Joanne Beaumont - 01245 294413 or follow the links below:

DAC Application Form April 2020 Link

Risk Assessment of your church 

Other Links 

The following websites also contain useful information and advice:

For more information please contact Sandra Turner
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